I’d been wondering if and when I might get hailed by someone I know. Well yesterday having just swapped my taxi over due to local hooligans breaking into my ol’ Fairway to nick the radio, as I was driving towards Lambeth Bridge a woman with a suitcase put her hand up. As she was getting in I recognised her from 5 Rhythms, a sort of alternative form of dance popular with folk interested in personal development and therapeutic forms (see www.acalltodance.com for more).
The strange thing was that I’d seen this woman pull up at the church in Vauxhall where the Rhythms are held in an old cab. I remembered having a chat with her about a year previously about her cab and telling her I was doing The Knowledge and that I’d be driving a cab one day. I’m pretty sure I’d had a dance with her too that evening. Anyhow, Euston Station was where she was bound and my opening gambit to her before she had her bottom on the seat was: “Don’t you have your own cab?”, which flummoxed her.
We began to have a nice friendly chat about her work portfolio and it turns out that she teaches the 5 Rhythms also. Now after about 10 days on the road as a proud London cabbie I’d been priding myself on the routes I’d taken on the 100 or so trips I’d done (the tightness of the line as they’d say on The Knowledge). Maybe it was the excitement of seeing this smiley familiar face that distracted me but I did not take the obvious and quicker route over Waterloo Bridge that I should have .
Sadly she didn’t notice either until we were somewhere north of Oxford Street and she realised that we were running very tight for her to catch her train. On pointing this out, I confessed that I should absolutely have gone over Waterloo Bridge and that I’d take a few quid off the fare. Sadly she got quite stressed and narked and, on arrival at Euston with about 6 minutes to catch her train, she departed swiftly and with little friendly cheer. Me going an indirect route was bound to happen but I thought it a shame that it happened with my first passenger that I actually knew. God forbid she rubbishes me as a cabbie to the entire 5 Rhythms community!